The month of October raises awareness of domestic violence. According to ncadv.org, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. That equates to more than 10 million women and men. Also, ncadv.org reports 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
What can we do to change these statistics? The Guidance Center spoke with Clinical Therapists Doris Pakozdi, AMFT, and Courtney Corniuk, AMFT, who shared simple but effective ways we can all participate in fighting the war against domestic abuse.
4 Ways to Increase Safety for Individuals Experiencing Domestic Violence
1. Increase Awareness for Yourself and Others
It’s important to educate yourself, your children and even your friends about the effects of an abusive relationship. The chart below is called the Cycle of Violence. According to the Metropolitan Police Department, “Many people who are in abusive relationships say that the violence follows a pattern. It does not happen randomly; rather, it often occurs in a repeating cycle that is made up of three phases. There are two important things to know about this cycle. First, this cycle happens for a reason and it’s not their fault. Second, it’s difficult to break the cycle. Therefore, if you think you know someone who may be in an unhealthy relationship, check-in on them, and check-in on them multiple times. Do not give up. It can take many times for someone to admit there is an issue in their relationship and have enough strength leave.
2. Increase Well-Being
Stress plays a huge role in effecting our well-being. Certain things such as a lack of childcare, financial burdens due to working less hours or being laid off, or worrying you or your family might get sick, etc., can effect your mental health. The current pandemic has only heightened these issues. For example, isolation can intensify feelings of depression and lead to an increase in stress. Another issue related to increased levels of stress, is an increase in drug use or relapse. In this case, drugs and alcohol can be used as coping methods. Also, be mindful of sporting events. An abuser can be triggered or angered if their favorite sports team loses a game, especially if money is involved.
In these circumstances, it is important to be prepared for moments that will trigger stress and, in turn, violent episodes. This includes putting together safety plan, a grab and go bag, creating a code word and telling it to a close friend or family member and, lastly, doing whatever it takes to remove yourself from the dangerous environment.
3. Increase Connections
In an article by The New England Journal of Medicine, the authors explain that during the Stay-at-Home orders, domestic-violence hotlines experienced a decrease in the number of calls. “Experts in the field knew that rates of [intimate partner violence] had not decreased, but rather that victims were unable to safely connect with services.” This statement emphasizes how important it is to look for other ways to stay connected with friends and family. Any chance of engagement can help by letting the individual know they have someone who cares for them and whom they can trust. Click here for tips on reaching out to friends experiencing domestic abuse by The Family & Youth Institute.
4. Seek Help
If you are experiencing domestic abuse and are fearful for your safety or the safety of your children, look for one safe person you can reach out to for help. If you do not have anyone to trust, please view our list of outside resources below:
National and Local Domestic Violence Resources
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
24 Hour Hotline: (800) 540-4000
Women’s Law has legal information and resources for victims.
COMPTON & SURROUNDING AREAS
1736 Family Crisis Center
24-Hour Crisis Hotlines: (310)-370-5902 & (310)-379-3620
The Guidance Center
Compton Clinic: (310) 669-9510
New Star Family Justice Center
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (800) 978-3600
Victim-Witness Assistance – Compton Branch
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877) 943-5778
Compton Empowerment Center: (310) 763-9117
24-Hour Crisis Hotlines: (562) 594-4555 & (714) 891-8121
Women Shelter of Long Beach
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (562) 437-4663
Su Casa, Ending Domestic Violence
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (562) 402-4888
The Guidance Center
Long Beach Clinic: (562) 595-1159
Victim-Witness Assistance – Long Beach Branch
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)943-5778
South Bay Empowerment Center: (562) 590-6400
Doors of Hope Women’s Shelter
Rainbow Services DV
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (310) 547-9343
The Guidance Center
San Pedro Clinic: (310) 833-3135